Not-for-profit Newcastle wellness centre Integrated Living helps seniors stay active

Staying active: Wickham residents Ken and Jocelyn Hullick exercise at Newcastle’s “wellness” centre for seniors twice a week.
苏州桑拿

A “wellness centre” for seniors in Newcastle is bringing exercise and health services together to help improve the lives of older people.

The centre, run by a not-for-profit organisation, overlooks Newcastle Harbour.

It includes a gym with digital exercise equipment, manufactured in Finland.

“The machines actually have seatbelts in case you reckon you’ll fall off,” Wickham’s Ken Hullick, 80, said.

The equipment also has software to monitor customised exercise programs for each user.Gym-goers at the centre are given a swipe-card that is used to adjust resistance settings on each piece of equipment. This helps users to maintain a personalised program, while monitoring improvements.

The gym is designed to help older people stay active. It’s also aimed at those who require exercise for rehabilitation.

The Integrated Living site has been dubbed “Newcastle’s first purpose-built wellness centre for seniors”.

It’s considered a place where older people can socialise, as well as exercising and accessing health services.

For example, the centre has just launched other services for improving memory, foot care, diabetes, massage and nutrition. There’s a focus on ways to improve and manage chronic conditions.

Mr Hullick attends the gym with his wife, Jocelyn, twice a week.

Ken Hullick.

“As we get older, we become more sedentary and get less exercise, then we start a downhill spiral,” Mr Hullick said.

Going to the gym, doing cardio and resistance exercises, helps build confidence, he said.

“As you get older, you lose a bit of confidence. You tend to avoid doing things because you’re not too sure whether you’re up to it.

“If you build up your strength, you build up your awareness and confidence.”

Mrs Hullick, 74, said she’d “had a couple of falls”. After attending the gym for a few months, she’d “certainly noticed the difference in my strength”.

“I really needed to build up my strength. I am feeling much fitter and getting stronger.”

The gym overlooks the harbour through big glass windows in Wharf Road.

No one can see in, which is a relief to self-conscious types, but it’s not so good for those who like to show off their muscles.

Integrated Living chief executive Catherine Daley said staying mobile “plays an integral part in remaining independent and healthy as we age”.

“We have one lady who used to need a walking stick, now she is so confident in her mobility that she often leaves her walking stick behind.”

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